This article was originally posted on LinkedIn and written by Ryan Lins, Author of Sales Unleashed.
Mental Health Awareness Month starts today and we should all take notice. Over 40 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness such as Anxiety, Depression, or PTSD.
Sales and business are ground zero for mental health challenges. According to The National Survey of Drug Use and Health sales is the 11th top profession for depression and mental illness.
I initially thought those statistics were for other, much weaker people. However, about 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with a mental illness. It was a harrowing two-year journey to get to that conclusion.
I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I’ve even thrown in a few panic attacks for good measure! Nothing can ruin a good sales day in the trenches like your heart beating through your chest during a customer demo.
While our understanding of mental illness has greatly improved over the years the stigma still lingers. Any personal weakness puts you in the cross-hairs to be scrutinized.
Sales is a results-based business – we all need to make our quota each month, each quarter, and each year. Rinse, lather, repeat. Therefore the value you bring to your organization is often the results you delivered last month and quickly forgotten.
That pressure to hit your numbers can make salespeople susceptible to anxiety or depression flare ups.
Here are some practical tips to help sales folks navigate mental health:
- Find your Tribe – Everyone needs a support system at work. Find a good friend or a manager you can trust and can confide in. You’d be surprised how understanding some of your colleagues can be.
- Ask for Help – When I was struggling a few years ago, I asked my field sales partner and sales manager to step in for a customer challenge. They were happy to help, and they have my gratitude. I have their back if they ever need me.
- Move – For some people with depression just getting out of bed in the morning can be a challenge. Take that first step, and second, and third. For others just walking at lunch and seeing the sun can do wonders.
- Change your Perspective– A former field partner Rich once told me, “Your job isn’t who you are, it’s what you do.” You are not defined as a person by your sales results.
It was my goal was to start a conversation on mental health, however I am just a layperson. If you struggle with mental illness seek out professional help. 1-800-950-NAMI or [email protected]